18 Apr

Two super-Earths found in habitable zone orbits around Kepler-62


“Scanning the heavens, you might very well miss the star Kepler-62. It’s a rather typical star, slightly smaller, cooler, and more orange than the Sun, much like tens of billions of other stars in our galaxy. But it holds a surprise: It’s orbited by at least five planets… and two of them are Earth-sized and orbit the star in its habitable zone!

The two planets, called Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f, are both bigger than Earth, but not by much; they are 1.6 and 1.4 times the Earth’s diameter, respectively. Kepler-62e orbits the star every 122 days, while Kepler-62f, farther out, takes about 267 days.”

(Via Earth-sized planets: Two super-Earths found orbiting the same star..)

13 Apr

Look up tonight: aurora borealis a possibility for US midwest and higher


“The flare is also expected to cause vibrant northern lights from the Arctic as far south as New York, the Dakotas, Washington and Michigan, with a smaller possibility of it going into Pennsylvania and Iowa, even Kansas. The lights are currently estimated for 8 p.m. EDT Saturday arrival, with a possible deviation of up to seven hours. If the radiation hits much after dark settles on the East Coast the lights may be missed and will instead only be visible for the West.”

(Via Aurora Borealis tonight? Dazzling northern lights forecast – CSMonitor.com.)

12 Apr

Earth sized planet near Alpha Centauri?

As an SF/F author, this makes me so incredibly happy…

“Happily for everyone, astronomers at the European Southern Observatory in Chile recently discovered a planet with a mass similar to that of the earth orbiting the sun-like Alpha Centauri B. Indeed, Alpha Centauri Bb is the first planet with an earth-like mass ever found orbiting a sun-like star.”

(Via An Earth-Sized Planet is Orbiting the Nearest Star.)